A! Magazine for the Arts

Geraldine Buckley performs at the National Storytelling Festival.

Geraldine Buckley performs at the National Storytelling Festival.

Storytelling Festival set

September 26, 2017

In Jonesborough, Tennessee, the storytelling capital of the world, tickets are on sale for the National Storytelling Festival, an annual gathering of some of the world's top talent. The oldest and most prestigious festival of its kind, NSF offers one-day and weekend passes for regular programming, as well as one-time admission to special events.

The three-day celebration of oral traditions from around the world -one of the top tourist attractions in the nation according to TripAdvisor.com - is the flagship event of its producer, the International Storytelling Center. The festival runs Oct. 6-8, with regular programming scheduled from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Sunday. The autumnal celebration of the world's oral traditions has been an annual tradition since 1973, when the first National Storytelling Festival spawned the American storytelling revival.

The 2017 festival features nearly two dozen storytellers, who take turns performing under big-top tents scattered across downtown Jonesborough, Tennessee. The diverse lineup includes Carmen Deedy, storyteller and award-winning children's-book author; Oba William King, known as the poetic storyteller; Sheila Kay Adams, seventh-generation ballad singer; Anne Shimojima, whose repertoire includes Asian folktales and the story of her family's WWII incarceration camp story; and Gene Tagaban, Native American storyteller.

A homecoming for some of the industry's finest performers, this year's featured tellers also include perennial favorites such as Donald Davis, Elizabeth Ellis, Geraldine Buckley and Andy Offutt Irwin. By showcasing oral traditions from the South and all over the world, the festival inspires unexpected connections and promotes cultural understanding.

In addition to the festival's signature programming, there's a handful of special events included in the price of the ticket, such as Exchange Place, a concert featuring new talent; the Swappin' Ground, where anyone can tell a story; and a Story Slam. Separately ticketed events include two nights of al fresco Ghost Stories; and the Friday night Midnight Cabaret, featuring Andy Offutt Irwin.

Two pre-festival concerts are also held on the festival grounds. Wednesday, Oct. 4 features Donald Davis and Thursday, Oct. 5 showcases Jeanne Robertson. Both all-ages shows begin at 7:30 p.m., and tickets can be reserved in advance or purchased on site, while supplies last. Three festival workshops are held Oct. 5. Presenters are Minton Sparks, Antonio Rocha and Connie Regan-Blake.

Tickets for the National Storytelling Festival - as well as all special events throughout the week - can be purchased online at www.storytellingcenter.net, at the International Storytelling Center in downtown Jonesborough, or on the festival grounds. For more information or to make reservations, call ISC at 800-952-8392, ext. 221.

Beaver Creek Storytellers